From the writer and director of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, comes a new AMC original series about zombies, yes I said zombies. The show is based on a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman who also serves as writer and producer. Frank Darabont penned and helmed the pilot episode “Days Gone Bye”. Brit, Andrew Lincoln plays Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes, a man just trying to survive. You may remember Lincoln as Mark in Love Actually. You know, the guy that was is love with Keira Knightly and knocked on her door with the boombox and posterboard professing his love. Probably my favorite part of the movie. Annnnnnyway, now he’s donning a new southern accent.
We open with the small town sheriff’s deputy making his way through deserted, overturned and burnt out cars to find gas. He comes across a little girl, only to find that she’s a….wait for it…..ZOMBIE! Single shot to the head.
Rewind……Deputy Grimes and his partner get called to a high speed chase. $#!& goes down and he gets shot. Ala 28 Days Later, he wakes up from a coma in an abandoned hospital with zombies running loose. It’s been weeks. I have to say, the zombie eaten human remains looked pretty realistic….or so I would assume. He makes his way out of the hospital only to find dozens of dead bodies outside and over the hill is an abandoned military helicopter. What the F happened here? Grimes returns to his empty home, sobbing for his wife and child that he must only assume the worst has happened to.
A father and son find Grimes and after determining that he’s not a “walker”, take him in and explain what’s been happening. He sees for himself that night as the walkers come close and the boy’s mother tries to get into the house they are squatting in. There’s a shot that pulls in to the door knob turning…..love it! There’s that cinematic touch that I knew Darabont would bring.
Grimes brings his new pals to the station where they take much needed hot showers and gun up. They part ways. Father, Morgan uses his ammunition to draw his wife zombie to the house so that he can put her down, but he can’t bring himself to do it. Grimes takes out the best looking zombie that I’ve ever seen in the park. She has half a body and has dragged herself through grass. It’s actually more sad, than it is horrifying.
Grimes is on his way to Atlanta where he believes his family to be. He uses the radio emergency frequency to reach anyone that might be out there. On the other end is his partner who’s with Grimes’ wife and child. And when I say with his wife, I mean with his wife. Grimes stops to ask for gas at a farm house. What he finds inside is unsettling. The family chose to take their own lives before being bitten (or possibly just after). To avoid having to stop for gas again, Grimes takes their horse. It’s quite an image watching him ride down the street with the shotgun slung over his shoulder. Oh how I love a shotgun.
He was told that there was a refugee center in Atlanta. Really…..it’s crawling with walkers. Unfortunately, the horsey gets eaten. Grimes gets away, crawing into a tank. Yes a military tank. A voice comes through the radio. Someone knows he’s there. We are left with a great shot that pulls out from the street as the walkers flock to the horse carcass and the tank.
The opening credits are washed out images against a dark and suspenseful theme song. I like it. One of my favorite television composers brings his talent to this project, Bear McCreary. You may know his drums from a little show called “Battlestar Galactica”. This is a much more subdued, sorrowful sound. It helps to give this horror show more legitimacy for those that don’t care for zombies and the like. Which is me. There are two zombie movies that I’ve ever liked, Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later. Frank Darabont is winning me over with this one. It’s not just a story about zombies. It’s a story about the human will to survive.
Darabont got some of the best in the business on board for this very unique take on the horror genre. My favorites include writers Charles Eglee, Adam E. Fiero, Glen Mazzara, and Jack LoGiudice. Among other alumni from “The Shield” are directors Gwyneth Horder Payton and Guy Ferland. So far, this seems like a recipe for zombie/drama goodness. Even if you aren’t a fan of horror or zombie movies, give this pilot a shot and then decide. It’s not your average, cheesy, laughable horror movie. This new series is going to redefine horror, not just on television, but on film as well. WATCH IT!!!
Sundays at 10pm on AMC